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 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 06/99: Scottish Parliament opening  
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EDITIONS
Scottish Parliament opening Thursday, 1 July, 1999, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Gathering in hall of political memories
Parliament Hall
Scotland's seat of government until the 1707 Act of Union
Scotland's new political order met the old when politicians gathered in Parliament Hall before the state opening of the new Scottish Parliament.

MSPs convened in the former seat of government for speeches from its political leaders.

It was a significant gesture and recognition of Scotland's political past and the parliament which dissolved in 1707 after the Act of Union.

Historic words

That parliament was remembered after May's elections, when veteran nationalist MSP Winnie Ewing proclaimed: "The Scottish Parliament adjourned on the 25th day of March 1707 is hereby reconvened."

Parliament window
Imposing: The hall's south window
The words, uttered when Mrs Ewing was sworn in as the first Member of the Scottish Parliament for 292 years, prompted loud applause from colleagues and political opponents alike.

Parliament Hall lies within Parliament House, which also contains the Court of Session and the Signet Library, and served the nation as home of government from 31 August 1639 until 1707.

Its main features include an imposing dark oak-beamed ceiling, raised by master-wright John Scott, and the stained glass south window, commemorating the inauguration of the College of Justice by James V.

Scotland's Crown Jewels

In the 17th century, proceedings began within the tradition of the "riding" of the parliament, when the Honours of Scotland - its Crown Jewels - were taken to the hall. After a sermon, the business of government would begin.

But the hall's place as parliament ended when the Act of Union was passed, transferring power to England.

Now used as a meeting place for advocates and their clients and open to the public, its position as a potent symbol of Scottish politics in years gone by was reinforced on 1 July.

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